Friday, May 27, 2022

Knoxville Radio: Black-Owned WJBE Could Go Silent Soon

Knoxville's only Black-owned radio station, WJBE 99.7 FM, could soon go silent. The Federal Communications Commission told the station's owner, Joe Armstrong, that they are moving to revoke his broadcasting license, reports WBIR Knoxville's 10News. 

Armstrong's attorneys say it is all because of a personal tax conviction that happened in 2016.
The FCC is threatening to take away Armstrong's broadcasts license because of a tax conviction.

Armstrong's attorney, Andrew ward said no law — at the FCC or anywhere else — should deny Americans a fresh start

"Joe has the 'character' to run a radio station," they said. "He's proven that for a decade."

Joe served for decades in the Tennessee General Assembly. In 2008, he legally sold cigarette tax stamps for a profit. His accountant did not properly pay the taxes on this sale, and Joe got in trouble with the IRS.

In 2016, he was acquitted of the most serious charges but convicted of a single false statement count. After his conviction, he retired from the legislature. Joe has served his time for the offense — which the judge called an aberration in an otherwise "exemplary life" — and his civil rights were restored in 2020.

In 2017, Joe reported his conviction to the FCC and did not think it was a problem for the station. But now, 5 years later, the FCC is threatening to revoke his license

Armstrong says he paid his debt to society and served three years of probation. He believes that he and the community should not be punished for something that happened years ago. 

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